Making Sense of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
Canadian sales professionals are confused and frustrated. Rightfully so. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is guiding marketers, while neglecting to help sellers understand and adapt to the law's new consequences.
So, beware: The Canadian Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) does limit your ability to “cold email” prospects.
That said, there seems to be two workarounds for B-to-B sellers that don't bend the rules:
- Use LinkedIn InMail, where users have already given their consent to receive your message and/or
- approach prospects with messages that do not encourage participation in a commercial activity.
Preface: I'm not a lawyer and you should consider your lawyer's advice. Unfortunately, the law truly is confusing from a sales person's perspective. That said ...
What CASL Is (and Is Not)
What is clear is the CASL's intention: To reduce unwanted, un-solicited email being sent by marketers. The Canadian government wants to lower the quantity of commercial electronic messages that are unwanted — yet being received — by customers or potential customers.
Got it. And CASL puts power into customers' hands.
CASL is not an attempt to limit the ability of businesses to develop new accounts using email messages. Heh. Not intentionally so.
According to the CASL website:
“To send a commercial electronic message to an electronic address, you need to have the recipient's consent, to identify yourself, to offer an unsubscribe mechanism and to be truthful.”
This is not terribly new. Yet many of my clients are confused. Rightfully. They're putting a lot (too much) focus on the consent piece. If you look at recent lawsuits and settlements, notice how obtaining consent is not a focal point.
So, how much does earning consent to email someone “cold” matter?
Do You Have Implied Consent?
No. But LinkedIn has better: Explicit consent. And it's “shareable” with you.
The main issue here is consent — getting it from prospects. Well, there are two flavors of what the CASL calls valid consent: